Let’s deepen together some basic but very important notions, which will be extremely useful to those interested in undertaking this ancient profession.
One of the traditional crafts, which rarely experience periods of crisis and which do not run the risk of disappearing due to technological evolution, is certainly that of the carpenter. Indeed, despite the trend towards automation is now increasingly widespread, this work is in full revaluation, especially by young people, who consider it a very important resource.
In other cases, however, carpentry is a long cherished dream that for some becomes reality; as happens to DIY enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to carpentry for years only as a hobby, perhaps in their free time, and who after gaining mastery and experience have decided to take the big leap and transform their passion into a well-paid job.
Whatever the context, or the age at which one approaches this profession, it is good to start with clear ideas and the awareness that the art of carpentry is beautiful and can give a lot of satisfaction, but it also requires a lot of commitment and many sacrifices; here are some basic tips on how to approach the training path to become a carpenter.
Tools and implements
As any good craftsman might tell you: “it is useless to buy the best marble if you don’t learn how to use it properly”. Acquiring full mastery of the work tools, especially the manual ones, is therefore extremely important, both for the final result and for personal safety.
In fact, carpentry requires the use of potentially dangerous tools: saws, blades, chisels, planes and hammers; not to mention stationary machines and power tools, such as the circular saw, the radial miter saw, the planer and thicknesser, the milling machine, the pillar drill and more.
In addition to doing a lot of practice to learn how to use them and keep them in good condition, it is important to understand that to use these machines and hand tools safely, you must always be lucid and have quick reflexes as a minimum distraction could cost. very expensive.
Those who have had the opportunity to devote themselves to carpentry as a hobby start at an advantage, of course, but in any case we must not make the mistake of underestimating stationary machines and power tools just because you already have a minimum knowledge of them. Those of the professional category, in fact, develop greater power and are more difficult to manage; young people, therefore, should carefully consider the possibility of attending a vocational training course.
The work space
Having adequate space available to use as a laboratory is extremely important, and not only because the tools and raw materials are bulky; stationary machines and power tools, in fact, generate loud noises and produce a large amount of processing waste. If a small garage or a cellar can be suitable for the hobby activity then, which is occasional and not continuous, the speech changes radically when it comes to transforming the hobby into a profession.
The laboratory must have some characteristics of fundamental importance: first of all it must be large and without dividing walls, so as to be able to accommodate larger machines, such as the combined machine and the band saw, and still leave enough space to work easily.
Furthermore, a part of the laboratory must be equipped for the storage of the raw material, because the wood must not be exposed to the elements. Nor should we neglect the aspect of pollution, both the sound and the one deriving from the correct disposal of the shavings and dust produced by the processing; if necessary, therefore, it is necessary to take into account the soundproofing of part of the environment and the presence of an area in front of, or in any case adjacent to the laboratory, which offers sufficient space for parking medium-sized vehicles and for loading and unloading of raw material and processing waste to be disposed of.
Learning to “speak” with wood
Perfect mastery of the work tools is not enough, you also need to know the raw material you are working on well. The Internet can prove to be an extremely effective tool in this regard, as it allows you to read up on the different varieties of wood and their characteristics; there are also books and special publications dedicated to carpentry, but obviously the experience derived from direct processing is irreplaceable.
Each type of wood has its essence and its degree of hardness, and each piece has its distinctive characteristics, starting with the grain and knots; the start may be hard but we must not be discouraged, with the passage of time and with the experience acquired, if you pay the right attention to your work, the wood will come to have no more secrets for you, and with a single glance you will be able to judge which are the best tools and how to use them in order to make perfect cuts and get good finishes.
Technical and artistic drawing
Carpentry, like all artisanal trades after all, presupposes the acquisition of skills that go beyond the main field of interest. Learning to draw, for example, is of fundamental importance, both as regards the realization of technical projects that report the exact scale measurements of the objects you want to build, such as a chest of drawers or a wall bookcase, and to draw motifs. ornaments and complex shapes to be reproduced on the wood, to create works of art, sculptures or furniture decorations.
Techniques and secrets of the art
Like any artisan work, carpentry also has its specific processing techniques. In this case, those with an advantage are the youngest, especially if they choose to attend a training course or work as apprentices in an artisan workshop.
The carpentry courses can help in illustrating and transmitting the various processing techniques, in fact, but they do it in a rather generic way. Working closely with a master craftsman for a long period, on the other hand, represents a much more valuable type of experience; with the passage of time, in fact, the master will tend to reward the apprentice’s commitment by transmitting not only the techniques, but also the secrets of the art that are handed down from one generation to the next.